Although Matthew Perry has appeared in many movies and shows over the years, the one that he is most recognized for is Friends which is an NBC sitcom that ran for ten seasons between 1994 to 2004. This show, starring David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry, is still one of the most beloved shows across the world.

All of the lead actors were catapulted to fame due to their performances in this show. However, two of them almost didn’t play their respective roles because they were planning to do other projects. One of them was Perry who recommended a friend for the role of his iconic character Chandler Bing.

Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry

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Matthew Perry Almost Didn’t Portray Chandler Bing

Creators of Friends Marta Kauffman and David Crane had thought that the easiest casting would be of Chandler Bing in the sitcom since the character had a lot of jokes and sarcastic remarks, but it proved to be the exact opposite. The producers wanted to have Scary Movie 4 star Craig Bierko for the role instead of Matthew Perry. However, Bierko turned down the role and the creators couldn’t have been happier.

The lead cast of Friends
The lead cast of Friends

In Vanity Fair‘s history of Friends, former president of NBC Entertainment Warren Littlefield said:

There was something Snidely Whiplash about Craig Bierko. He seemed to have a lot of anger underneath, more of a guy you love to hate. The attractive leading man who you love and can do comedy is very rare.


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Earlier, in the same interview, it had been revealed that Matthew Perry was the first choice for Chandler Bing. At the time, the actor was going to do a show called LAX 2194 which was a Fox pilot about baggage handlers in the year 2194. Thankfully, the deal didn’t go through and Perry ended up taking the role for which he had trained his friend Craig Bierko.

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Matthew Perry Wasn’t the Only One

Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry
Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry

Another actor who was too busy to do Friends was Jennifer Aniston. Marta Kauffman said that the hardest part to cast was Rachel Green. According to David Crane, the role was initially offered to Jami Gertz who is an extremely talented actress, but she wasn’t what they were looking for so everyone waited for 24 hours with bated breath for Gertz to pass the role.

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Once the role was passed, Jennifer Aniston auditioned. Her predicament was similar to Perry’s as she was in a CBS show named Muddling Through that was on the air. The creators of Friends met the creator of the other show and asked him if he would let go of Aniston.

Jennifer Aniston cried to Les Moonves who was then the president of Warner Bros. Television to help her get out of the CBS show, and the rest, as they say, is history. Both Perry and Aniston got cast alongside their four other co-stars who worked together in the legendary sitcom Friends.

Source: Vanity Fair

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